Gail Thomas has published four books of poetry, Odd Mercy (Headmistress, 2016), Waving Back (Turning Point, 2015), No Simple Wilderness: An Elegy for Swift River Valley (Haleys, 2001) and Finding the Bear (Perugia Press, 1997). Forthcoming in the fall 2022 are Trail of Roots, a chapbook which won the A.V. Christie Series (Seven Kitchens Press) and the full-length collection Leaving Paradise (Human Error Publishing).
Waving Back was named a Must Read for 2016 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and Honorable Mention at the New England Book Festival. Odd Mercy was chosen by Ellen Bass for the 2016 Charlotte Mew Prize of Headmistress Press. At the center of Odd Mercy is "The Little Mommy Sonnets", awarded Honorable Mention in the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Contest for Traditional Verse. Her poem "Wisteria" won the Naugatuck River Review Narrative Poetry Prize.
Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including The Beloit Poetry Journal, Calyx, Hanging Loose, The North American Review, Cumberland River Review, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Mom Egg Review. They have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times.
She has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and was awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Ucross.
Her book, No Simple Wilderness, about the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1930’s has been taught in college writing and multidisciplinary courses. As one of the original artists for the MCC’s Elder Arts Initiative, Thomas led workshops and intergenerational arts projects across the state.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Thomas raised her daughters in Western Massachusetts where she has lived for 40 years.
Winner, A.V. Christie Series, Seven Kitchens Press
Editor's Choice, Quartet Journal
First place, Naugatuck Review's Narrative Poetry Contest
Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Contest Honorable Mention for Traditional Verse; Charlotte Mew Prize for Odd Mercy from Headmistress Press, Must Read Book for 2016 for Waving Back from Massachusetts Center for the Book, Honorable Mention for Waving Back from New England Book Festival, MacDowell Colony residency, Ucross Foundation residency, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Poets Seat Poetry Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council grants, Community Foundation of Western MA, Puffin Foundation, Quadrangle Poetry Award, James Hearst Poetry Prize (2nd place), Pat Schneider Poetry Prize (1st place), Robert Collen Poetry Prize (2nd place)
Readings & Presentations
Gail gives poetry readings at schools and colleges, book stores, festivals, conferences, historical societies, cafes and galleries throughout the Northeast. She has been a presenter at writing, social work, and academic conferences on topics such as Poems of Dislocation, Arts and Alzheimer's, Publishing Your Poems, Writing Across Generations, Poets and Revision, and Building Community through the Arts. She teaches poetry for Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshops and provides private consultations and editing.
Journals & Anthologies
Amethyst Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Bay Windows, Beloit Poetry Journal, Buckle, Calyx, Canary, Cedar Rock, The Chiron Review, Cider Press Review, Connections, Compass Roads, Cumberland River Review, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Earth’s Daughters, Evergreen Chronicles, Extracts, Feminist Parenting, A Fine Excess: 50 Years of Beloit, Gallery of Readers Anthology, Halfway Down the Stairs, Hanging Loose, Hiram Poetry Review, The Larcom Review, Lavender Review, Lily Poetry Review, Mezzo Cammin, Mom Egg Review, Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems, Muddy River Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, New England Watershed, New Verse News, Night Heron Barks, Nixes Mate, North American Review, One Art, Paradise Found , Passager, Peregrine, The Prose Poem Project, Quartet Journal, Rough Cut Press, Silkworm, Sojourner, South Florida Poetry Journal, Split Rock Review, String Poet, Summerset Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, VerseWrights, Yarrow,Yet Another Small Magazine, Your Daily Poem, Whale Road Review, Winning Writers, Writing in a Woman's Voice